Album Review of Let Them Eat Chaos by Kate Tempest.
Release Date: Oct 7, 2016
Record label: Lex
On the masterful follow-up to her Mercury Prize-nominated debut, Everybody Down, British poet/rapper Kate Tempest offers a vivid portrait of human failings and worldly tumult as seen through the microcosm of an unnamed South London street at 4:18 A.M. The simplicity of the spoken word is used to great effect as she begins in widescreen, zooming in first on our sun, solar system, and finally on Earth. Tranquil and soft from a distance, the lens soon magnifies a geographical pin prick amid what is soon painted as the unsteady chaos of a city, and with this deft introduction, Tempest tosses the listener into the fray, putting in motion an interlocking group of narratives set to producer Dan Carey's skittering beats and dynamic electro backdrop.
Since Kate Tempest’s last record – 2014’s Mercury-nominated Everybody Down – she found the time to put out Hold Your Own, her finest collection of poetry yet, and her debut novel The Bricks That Built The Houses. It’s one of life’s mysteries that this polymath can produce work at breakneck speed across multiple disciplines like poetry, prose, plays and hip hop records and rarely, if ever, strike a bum note. And it’s a gift to the record buying public (if such a thing exists anymore?) that she has found the time to conjure this latest offering, as it offers timely commentary on an increasingly tumultuous world.
Kate Tempest :: Let Them Eat ChaosLex RecordsAuthor: Patrick TaylorOne of my happiest discoveries doing the yearly RapReviews UK month was Kate Tempest's 2014 album "Everybody Down. " It is an impressive and mix of poetry and hip-hop that mostly lives up to its ambitions. It remains one of my favorite hip-hop albums of the past few years, in part because it is so different from anything else out today.
Kate Tempest is becoming iconic in numerous artistic worlds, including hip-hop, spoken word and literature, with a Mercury Music Prize nomination for debut Everybody Down, and a Ted Hughes Prize for poetry already firmly under her belt. Let Them Eat Chaos, Tempest’s second solo album is her most damning and apocalyptic work to date. It's raw and gritty, acting as a platform for an epic poem spanning the minds and inner turmoil of seven characters, all awake on a London street at 4.18 am.
Whether her politics are being worn on her sleeve or are squarely on the nose, the analogies usually adopted by broadsheets and tabloids to annotate the enigmatic Kate Tempest are reductive. An artist as multifaceted as Tempest belies lazy metaphor. Already an award-winning poet and playwright, she released her debut record, the Mercury-nominated Everybody Down, in 2014, and her debut novel The Bricks That Built The Houses earlier this year.
When Kate Tempest exploded on an unsuspecting world, it was with two releases. One was an album, nominated for a Mercury Prize, Everybody Down and the other, Brand New Ancients, was a performance poem that won the prestigious Ted Hughes Award. Both were a breath of fresh air and showcased why some were called her a post-clubbing Dylan Thomas. Now she has returned with producer-of-the-moment Dan Carey, with a new album and poem (you can buy it as a book) that again shows she is at the top of her game.
She has been garlanded by everyone from the compilers of the Mercury shortlist to the judges of the Poetry Society’s Ted Hughes prize, but on paper at least, Kate Tempest’s new album still seems like a tough sell. It’s a 48-minute long hip-hop-influenced performance poem about the alienated lives of the residents of one south London street, set to a variety of post-dubstep bass music. It opens with an invocation of Mother Earth and ends with a plea for humanity to, as Primal Scream once had it, come together as one.
To say that Britain has gone through a tumultuous time since Kate Tempest released her debut album ‘Everybody Down’ in 2014 is an understatement. In the wake of the Brexit vote in particular, the country seems more divided and in a state of unnerving flux. Never one to back away from difficult subject matter, the poet, rapper and author seems like the perfect candidate to analyse the UK in 2016.
It’s 4.18pm. On a residential road aisled with council flats and families, George is sitting hunched over a Sony laptop in his (sister’s) three-bed pad, full of box-packed IKEA consumerist crap. He is not London’s proletariat. Kate Tempest makes him feel very guilty when he listens to her second album comprised of the long-form poem Let Them Eat Chaos.
Despite the woeful spirit that surrounds most of our staff at the moment, which goes without saying, the past month was actually one of the most enjoyable in terms of music releases for Carl and I. But both of us were not going to back out of our duty to report on some albums that are really worth ….